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‘Is Constitution a mere administrative manual?’

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Patna: People participate in a protest rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Patna on Dec 29, 2019. (Photo: IANS) by .
Patna: People participate in a protest rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Patna on Dec 29, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

The letter was signed by former Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameswar, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Army Commander Lt Gen Harcharanjit Singh Panag, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, actor Sharmila Tagore, vocalist TM Krishna, former UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat and former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, according to the reports by The Indian Express…reports Asian Lite News

SY Quraishi. (File Photo: IANS) by .
SY Quraishi.

Several prominent personalities including former Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameshwar and former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi on Sunday issued an appeal to citizens, asking them to “introspect whether truth and non-violence — the two values held very dear to the heart of the Father of the Nation — continue to inform our actions in the public sphere”.

Ahead of Republic Day and the National Voters Day (January 25), the letter, signed by former Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameswar, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Army Commander Lt Gen Harcharanjit Singh Panag, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, actor Sharmila Tagore, vocalist TM Krishna, former UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat and former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, urges people to “constantly introspect and audit the working of the Constitution”, the The Indian Express reported.

The letter asked whether “the Constitution is a mere administrative manual which enables the elected governments to claim legitimacy for abuse of power, and allows the citizens to convert liberty into license disregarding rights of others? “Is it simply another text penned by ink, or a sacred text written in the blood of innumerable martyrs who transcended the barriers of caste, religion, region, ethnicity and language?” the letter asked.

Justice J.Chelameswar (Photo: Bidesh Manna/IANS)

“The seventieth anniversary of the Republic is an appropriate moment to celebrate and introspect by peacefully observing the Birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (Jan 23), Foundation day of the Election Commission celebrated as the National Voters Day (Jan 25), the Republic Day (Jan 26) and the martyrdom of the Father of the Nation (Jan 30),” the letter adds, asking citizens to “utilise this solemn occasion to celebrate our success, reflect on our current concerns, particularly about our plural, secular society, and resolve to fulfill the Constitutional goals envisaged by Dr. Ambedkar and our forefathers as summed up in the Preamble,” the The Indian Express quoted the letter.

The letter comes amid widespread protest against the controversial Citizenship Amenmend Act (CAA) that grants citizenship to individuals who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, or Parsi and who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanistan by the cut-off date of December 31, 2014 — excluding Muslims.

Meanwhile, the government has defended the Act saying it is the responsibility of the country to provide a safe haven for minorities in the three neighbouring countries, as they face prosecution there.

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